Volume 18, No.11 - November 2014

Global dialogue on development

ECOSOC holds coordination and management meeting

ECOSOC_CM_meetingThe Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) will hold its fourth Coordination and Management Meeting on 17-18 November at UN Headquarters in New York.

During the meeting, the Council will review the reports of some of its subsidiary bodies, in particular the Regional Commissions. It will also consider special country situations, namely Haiti, with the report of its Ad Hoc Advisory Group on development support to that country, as well as South Sudan.

Considering specific development issues, the Council will interact with the Chair of the Committee on World Food Security and be briefed on the work of the 10 Year Framework Programme on Sustainable Production and Consumption Patterns (10YFP). It will also hold a panel discussion organized by UN DESA’s Division for Public Administration and Development Management (DPADM) and ITU on “Implementing the Post-2015 Development Agenda: Enhancing access to and security of ICTs”.

For more information:

ECOSOC Coordination and Management Meetings-CMM


Call extended for 2015 UN Public Service Awards nominations

UNPSA2015The United Nations has been receiving nominations for the 2015 UN Public Service Awards (UNPSA) since August and will be accepting nominations until the new deadline of 18 November 2014.

The UNPSA is an international contest designed to promote and support innovations in public service delivery worldwide. The Award is open to all public organizations, including governments and public-private partnerships involved in delivering services to citizens.

The UNPSA takes place every year on 23 June, the United Nations Public Service Day. For 2015, the UNPSA will be given to those public institutions that have distinguished themselves in one of the following categories: i) Improving the Delivery of Public Services; ii) Fostering Participation in Policy-making Decisions through Innovative Mechanisms; iii) Promoting Whole-of-Government Approaches in the Information Age, and iv) Promoting Gender-Responsive Delivery of Public Services. The Award highlights cutting edge innovations and recognizes that democracy and effective governance is built on a competent civil service.

The UNPSA is the most prestigious international recognition of excellence in public service and it rewards the achievement and contributions of public service institutions that lead to a more effective and responsive public administration in countries worldwide. The objective of the Awards is to enable innovation and knowledge sharing by recognizing initiatives from around the world which have made a significant impact in the delivery of public services by public sector institutions.

During the Awards ceremony in June each year, a large number of participants attend from all over the world, including world leaders, ministers, senior government officials, mayors, representatives from civil society, academia, and the private sector, as well as representatives from international and regional organizations. The United Nations Public Service Forum, Day and Awards Ceremony hosted by the Republic of Korea in June 2014 was attended by close to 2,000 people from all over the world.

The UNPSA programme has grown tremendously since its inception. A robust and consistent increase in the number of nominations submitted and the expansion of geographical representation has been observed since the first year of the program in 2003. Furthermore, new countries apply to the programme each year, highlighting the attractive nature of the programme in motivating countries to submit their public administration innovations.

Videos from the UNPSA 2014 can be found on YouTube, including the opening and closing ceremonies, roundtable discussions and videos from winning initiatives. The call for nominations for the upcoming UNPSA 2015 is still open and nominations can be submitted online here until 18 November 2014.

For more information:

UN Public Service Awards 


Third Committee considers rights of indigenous peoples

gass“Although we have become better at talking about indigenous peoples, through declarations, policies or legislation, there remains a major gap between words and actions”, said Thomas Gass, Assistant Secretary General for Policy Coordination and Inter-Agency Affairs in UN DESA, reflecting the tone of statements made before the Third Committee on 20 October.

Mr. Thomas Gass presented the final report of the Secretary-General on the Second International Decade of the World’s Indigenous People on behalf of UN DESA’s Under-Secretary-General Mr. Wu Hongbo.

This year marks the end of the Second Decade, which was declared by the UN General Assembly in 2004 and aimed to draw attention and provide concrete action to address the development challenges facing indigenous peoples around the world.

“The implementation of the Second Decade has achieved some major successes” said Mr. Gass, referring to the adoption by the General Assembly of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in 2007 as the most notable success.

“However”, he warned, a “substantial gap” remains between recognition of the rights of indigenous peoples and implementation on the ground. “Much more remains to be done” Mr. Gass concluded.

In referring to some of the shortcomings of the Second Decade, Mr. Gass referenced the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), criticizing that “while Member States have put significant effort into MDG attainment, indigenous peoples have remained largely invisible in the process”.

Looking towards the future, Mr. Gass recommended the establishment of a third international decade focused on the full and effective implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, in order to bring consistent and renewed commitment to issues affecting indigenous peoples.

Indigenous peoples cannot be left out of world development agenda

VictoriaTauliCorpuzEchoing these views, Ms. Victoria Tauli Corpuz, the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples – who was presenting her first report to the UN General Assembly – stressed that “huge challenges in the implementation of the economic, social and cultural rights of indigenous peoples remain”.

Ms. Tauli Corpuz praised advances at the international level that have moved away from “assimilationist” and “integrationist” models for development of indigenous peoples, noting that these “failed to take into account the diversity of human livelihoods, cultures and concepts of well-being”.

Highlighting the deep ongoing challenges in addressing indigenous peoples’ disadvantage in nearly all of the countries in which they live, the Special Rapporteur stressed that indigenous peoples must be front and centre in the design of and control over development initiatives.

“Strengthening indigenous peoples’ own strategies for sustainable development is not only key to achieving their economic, social and cultural rights, but it is also an indispensable element of the global efforts to achieve sustainable development”, she said.

At the same time, the Special Rapporteur criticized “the failure of the international community” to use the Millennium Development Goals to address concerns of indigenous peoples in the context of development. “Based on available data regarding social and economic conditions of indigenous peoples”, she noted, “it is evident that the MDGs did not address or resolve” the continued situation of disadvantage of indigenous peoples.

Speaking to Member States, Ms. Tauli Corpuz stressed that she remains “deeply concerned that the particular situation of indigenous peoples often remains invisible within national statistics”.

The Special Rapporteur expressed her hope that the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) can be used to respond to indigenous peoples aspirations for self-determined development and to achieve equality in development outcomes.

General debate focuses on advancements at national level

During the general debate, Member States referred to specific advancements in the legal, policy and administrative frameworks concerning indigenous peoples at the national levels. Several highlighted the need to harmonize national laws and policies with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Member States also welcomed the recent World Conference on Indigenous Peoples, the first time the UN had organized such an event, a huge gathering of States, indigenous peoples representatives and others in New York last month, and emphasized the importance of the adoption and implementation of the conference Outcome Document.

The Third Committee heard interventions from 38 speakers, which included 33 individual member countries.

For more information:

Watch the video of the Third Committee session

United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues

UN General Assembly’s Third Committee


Actions for SAMOA Pathway already underway

“Our purpose is to underscore once again the importance of the outcomes of the Conference, both the SAMOA pathway and the partnerships that were launched in Apia,’ said Martin Sajdik, President of ECOSOC, at the opening of the informal stock-taking meeting on the Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States on 1 October 2014 at UN Headquarters in New York.

The meeting focused on lessons learned and the way forward for implementation. “The SAMOA Pathway, as a well-crafted intergovernmental agreement that has the zeal and stamp of approval of the UN membership, is the blueprint for SIDS sustainable development for now and the immediate future,” said Aliioaiga Feturi Elisia, Samoa’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations.

Conference outcomes and their implementation

Participants who took the floor commended the excellent preparation and running of the Conference and its successful outcomes. They called for concrete implementation of the SAMOA (SIDS Accelerated Modalities of Action) Pathway and partnerships on SIDS, strengthening review and coordination within the UN system, and the consideration of the special needs and challenges faced by SIDS in the post-2015 development agenda.

In the course of the meeting, sustainable and inclusive economic development was described as the bedrock on which the future of all SIDS will be built. Empowerment of women and girls, promoting SIDS heritage and culture as a force of social cohesion, and addressing the scourge of non-communicable diseases were further topics reflected on.

The global nature of climate change and disaster risk management were emphasized, as was the need to find a global response. The importance of reaching an agreement on addressing climate change in Paris 2015 was highlighted. Sustainable energy, the health of oceans and the threat to water and food in SIDS were also raised in the course of the meeting.

UN DESA’s follow-up

“The success of the Conference will also be measured by its follow-up and its future impact on the sustainable development of SIDS” said Wu Hongbo, Under-Secretary-General at UN DESA and Secretary-General of the Conference. He outlined a number of actions already initiated by his Department to this end:

  • An implementation matrix mapping out the specific roles and tasks of UN system organizations in implementing the Conference outcomes is being prepared. A comprehensive review of UN system support to SIDS is also planned.
  • The SIDS partnership platform has been expanded and adapted and will serve as a key tool for monitoring and reporting on progress toward implementation.
  • The relevant Offices and Divisions in DESA have been directed to further strengthen DESA’s technical and capacity building support to SIDS. DESA’s ongoing collaboration with UN system organizations and with SIDS regional organisations will be intensified.
  • As the Secretariat Department responsible for the substantive support to the General Assembly, the Economic and Social Council, the High-level Political Forum, and the ongoing process for the elaboration of the post-2015 development agenda and the Financing for Development Conference, DESA will support Member States as they incorporate SIDS priorities and aspirations in intergovernmental deliberations and decisions.
  • DESA will also continue to provide annual reporting to the relevant bodies on progress in the implementation of the Barbados Programme of action, the Mauritius Strategy and the SAMOA Pathway.

“My Department is ready to do its part, both through its own advisory services, its normative and analytical work, and through its coordinating role in rallying UN system-wide support,” said Mr Wu.

“Samoa will never be the same again”

“Samoa will never be the same again,” said Ambassador Elisia at the end of the meeting, “because we invited 3000 delegates, and at the end we had to say good-bye to 3000 genuine friends and partners of Samoa.”

The stock-taking meeting was chaired by ECOSOC President Martin Sajdik and attended by the Under-Secretary-Generals of DESA and OHRLLS, the Permanent Representative of Samoa, Co-Chairs of the various partnerships dialogues of the SIDS Conference, other representatives of Member States, and Major Groups.

For more information:

SIDS outcome press release


Secretary-General’s High-level Group discusses sustainable transport

sustdev_transportAn informal meeting of the Secretary-General’s High-level Advisory Group on Sustainable Transport took place on Wednesday 24 September. The aim of the Advisory Group, established in August 2014, is to promote accelerated implementation of sustainable transport, aligned closely with inclusive and equitable growth, social development, protection of the global environment and ecosystems, and addressing climate change.

The Group will work with Governments, transport providers, businesses, financial institutions, civil society and other stakeholders to promote sustainable transport systems and their integration into development strategies and policies, including in climate action. The range of transport providers it will work with includes aviation, marine, ferry, rail, road and urban public transport.

UN DESA’s Under-Secretary-General Wu Hongbo welcomed the members that attended the informal meeting and expressed his and the Secretary-General’s deep appreciation for their acceptance to serve on the Advisory Group.

“Transport and mobility are essential preconditions for sustainable development,” said the Director of the Division for Sustainable Development and Executive Secretary of the Advisory Group, who briefed it on sustainable transport challenges and opportunities. “Adequate transport infrastructure and affordable transport services facilitate access to education, social services, jobs and export markets,” he said, also highlighting that “they contribute to economic and productivity growth.”

But safe and affordable transport services are still widely lacking in many developing countries, in particular in rural areas. Increased urbanization and motorization have resulted in unprecedented congestion, wasteful energy use, increased motor vehicle emissions, road safety issues, and deteriorating urban air quality in cities, with serious negative impacts on public health, living conditions and climate change.

The members of the group exchanged views on its priority areas and scope of work, highlighting, among other things, the social dimension of transport, especially the inequality aspect, and its impact on economy, productivity and the daily lives of people.  Urbanization was identified as figuring prominently in meeting the growing challenges of transport. Nouakchott, Mauritania, was cited as an example illustrating the scale and magnitude of the challenges ahead and the urgent need for a new urban policy, new urbanization and in that context sustainable transport.

Members agreed that given its broad social, economic and environmental dimensions, its increasing share of CO2 emissions, and the importance of intermodal transport, transport must be addressed through a holistic, integrated and balanced approach at the strategic level. They also agreed that the Group should keep an open mind and be ready to work at several levels and across sectors, engaging multi-stakeholders.

To achieve sustainable transport, society would need nothing less than a real paradigm shift, committed to changing unsustainable consumption patterns and consumer culture and behaviour.

Members recognized the value of the Group’s diversity, with constituting members from the public and private sectors, governments and local authorities, civil society, as well as representatives from different modes of transportation. This unique combination brings together different expertise, knowledge and experience, which enables sharing of ideas, outreach and engagement with a wide network of actors at international, national and local levels.

To accomplish its aims, the Advisory Group will provide a global message and recommendations on sustainable transport, including on innovative policy and multi-stakeholder partnerships for sustainable transport; launch a “Global Transport Outlook Report” to provide analytical support for these recommendations; and help mobilize action and initiatives in support of sustainable transport among key actors. These actors include Member States, development finance institutions, bilateral development partners, transport providers, urban authorities and land-use planners.

For more information:

Secretary-General’s High-level Advisory Group on Sustainable Transport